tv Charlie Rose PBS May 2, 2011 11:20pm-12:20am EDT
>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight, the death of osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda, and the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. we begin with brian ross of abc news. >> it's interesting, charlie. they never once saw him before the assault. there was no absolute visual confirmation that bin laden was there, but everything else seemed to fit. the couriers going here, the size of the families seemed to
match his, everything seemed to fit and they made the decision to go in and get him. >>ose: we continue with former c.i.a. director general michael hayden. >> who knew what and when i know? i guess the departure point will be how long do we tnk he was there? and what happens the story on the street in that town? who was in that compound? who was coming and going? who knew what? who chose to avoid knowing? and perhaps who chos to avoid revealing what it was they did know. these are really serious questions. >> rose: we conclude with david ignatius of the "washington post," steve coll of the new america foundation and also the author of a book about the bin ladens. and finally dexter filkins of the "new yorker" magazine from istanbul, turkey. >> it may be more difficult now for president bush to make the case... president obama to make the case to stay in afghanistan. people are going to say "hey, look, he's dead, let's bring the
boys home." but when you're in afghanistan, as i just was, the senior leadership there in the american military, i mean, i think down to the last person, they all believe that this is a multiyear if not a generational effort. >> rose: perspectives of the death of osama bin laden and the implications for the united states and pakistan with brian ross of abc news; former c.i.a. director general michael hayden; dexter filkins of the "new yorker" magazine; david ignatius of the "washington post"; and steve coll of the new america foundation. every story needs a hero we can all root for. who beats the odds and comes out on top. but this isn't just a hollywood storyline. it's happening every day, all across america.
every time a storefront opens. or the midnight oi is burned. or when someone chases a dream, not just a dollar. they are small business owners. so if you wanna root for a real hero, support small business. shop small. >> rose: president obama went on television last night to make the dramatic announcement that osama bin laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, had been killed by u.s. military forces in a raid in pakistan.
>> good evening. tonight i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that has killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. shortly after taking office, i directed leon panetta, the director of the c.i.a., to make the killing or capture of bin laden the top priority of our war against al qaeda. even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network. then last august after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community i was briefed on a possible lead to bin laden. it was far from certain and it took many months to run this thread to ground. i met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin laden hiding within
a compound deep inside pakistan. and finally, last week, i determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get osama bin laden and bring him to justice. today at my direction the united states launched a targeted operation against that compound in abbottabad, pakistan. a small team of americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. no americans were harmed. they took care to avoid civilian casualties. after a fire fight, they killed osama bin laden and took custody of his body. >> rose: bin laden's death marks the end of a nearly ten-year man hunt during which he continually eluded capture. in a white house briefing earlier today, john brennan, president obama's chief counterterrorism advisor, provided more details. >> you went into this operation
believing that the most likely outcome would be he would be killed on sight? >> we were trying to make sure that we were able to accomplish mission safely and securely for the people who were involved. we were not going to put our people at risk. the president put a premium on making sure our personnel were protected and we wereot going to give bin laden or any of his cohort it is opportunity to carry out lethal fire on our forces. he wasengagednd he was killed in the process but if we had the opportunity to take him alive we would have done that. >> reporter: have you been able to determine how bin laden was able to hide in this relatively prominent location and do u believe the pakistanis when they say they have no idea he was there? >> people refer to this as hiding in plain sight. clearly th was something that was coidered as a possibility. pakistan is a large country. we are looking right now at how he was able to hold out there for so long and whether or not there was any type of support system witn pakistan that
allowed him to stay there. we know that the people at the compound there wereorking on his behalf and that's how we ultimately found our way to that compound. but we are right now less than 24 hours after this operation so we are talking with the pakistanis on a regular basis now and we're going to pursue alleads to find out exactly what type of support system and benefactors that bin laden might have had. >> reporter: but you don't necessarily assume that they did snow >> we're following all leads in this issue. >> reporter: just to follow up on that? is it really credible pakistani authorities had no idea this compound was built and that he existed in such an elaborate compound? >> i think it's inconceivable that bin laden did not have a support system in the country that allowehim to remain there for an extended period of time. i am not going to speculate about what type of support he ght ve h on an officia basis inside of pakistan. we are closely talking to the
pakistanis right now and we are leaving open opportunities to continue to pursue whatever leads might be out there. >> rose: also, one of the things that a lot of people think about when they hear this news is what does this mean for the war in afghanistan? doest make it easier to wind things down? >> i think the accomplishment that very brave personnel from the united states government were able to rlize yesterday is a defining moment in the war against al qaeda, the war on terrorism, by decapitating the head of the snake known as al qaeda. it is going to have, i think, very important reverberations throughout the area on the al qaeda network in that area. this is something that we've been after for 15 years. it goes back before 9/11. so i think what we're doing now is going t try to take advaage of this opportunit that we have to demonstrate to the pakistani people, to the people in the area, that al qaeda is something in the past.
we're hoping to bury the rest of al qaeda along with bin laden. >> in the situation room yesterday, could you describe how you were monitoring the gogs on? it's been described as a very tense... understandably a very tense scene. were you watching the operation? were you just... were you listening to it? how were you getting your informatn >>he principals convened yesterday around midday. there were others who we were here early yesrday morning. thpresident joined us then early afternoon before the operation got under y. when the operati did get under way, then the president rejoined the group and we were able to monitor in a real-time basis the progress of the operation from its commencement to its timeline target to the tracon of remains and to the the egrs off of the rget. it wasprobably onof the most anxiety-filled periods of time i think in the lives of the people
who were assembled here yesterday. the minutes passed like days and the president was very concerned about the security of our personnel. that was what was on his mind throughout and we wanted to make sure we were able to get through this and accomplish the mission. but it was clearly very tense. a lot of people holding their breath. and there was a fair degree of silence as it progressed, as we would get the updates. and when we finally were informed that those individuals who were able to go in that compound and found an individual that they believe was bin laden, it was a tremendous sigh of relief that what we believed and who we believed was in that compound actuallyas in that compound when it was found and the present was relieved once we had our people and those remains of target. >> was it just a radio report or phone reports or...
>> we were able to monitor the situion in realtime and were able to have regular updates and to ensu that we had realme visility to the progress o operations. i'm not going to go into details abt what type of visuals we had or what type of things were there but it gave us the ability to actually track it on an ongoing basis. >> can you talk to us about what documentation you may have found in? was it a bank vault worth of information and were you able to potentially get additional leads out of the information >> the people who were on the compound took advantage of their time there to make sure that we wereble to acquire whatever material we thought was appropriate and needed and we are in the process right now of looking at whatever might have been picked up but i won't go into detail about what might have been acquired. we feel this is a very important time to continue to prosecute this effort against al qaeda, take advantage of the success of yesterday andcontinue to work
to break the back of al qaeda. >> from a visual perspective, here is bin lad on who has been calling for these attacks living in this million dollar plus compound living in an area that is far removedrom the front, hiding behind women who were put in front of them as a shield. i think it speaks to just how false his narrative has been over the years. and looking at what bin laden was doing, hidg there while other people are carrying out attackspeak to, i think, the nature of the individual he was. >> was it a close call in you were? >> with the president going forward with this? >> yes. >> i have been following bin laden for 15 years, been after this guy and i have the jut most confidence in the people, particularly at c.i.a. who have been tracking him they were confident and their confidence was going. this intelligence case is different, what we've mean? this compound is different than anything we've seen before.
i was confident we had the basis to take action. i also, though, had the dhafs a u.s. team that went in there has exceptional skill to do this capefully. but the president had to look at all the scenarios. what would have happened if a helicopter went down? whatf it weren't bin laden. but he decided it was so important to the security of the american people that he was going to go forward with this. >> how certain are you that there ll be some kind of movement to astleng death? some kind of retaliation if you still have the color-coded alerts? would this be a time when you would raise that alert? >> janet napolitano and ebb secretary of homeland security announced there was a change to the color code system and i think she has put out a atement saying w don't the specific and credible that reporting that would require some type in their mind of an elevation of that threat status.
like any instant like ts, what we do is take the prudent steps afterwar to make sure we have our vigilance up, that we are taking the appropriate measures so that our security posture is strong both overseas and here but i think there is always the potential for terrorist groups to strike out and avenge an operation like this. >> there are reports there was a replica of the compound. can you tell us anything about where and how that was put together? >> you can imagine that for something as important and risky as this, every effort would be made to do the practice runs understand the complexities and the layout of the compound there were multiple opportunities to do that in terms of going through exercises to prepare for it so once they hit the compound they had already simulated that a number of times. so i won't go into details about where and when this was done but needless to sa whe they hit
that compound they had already trained against it numerou times. >> if the compound was so big, howdid the skillknow where to find bin laden and can you say anything about whether it was a bedroom dining area o open area or something like that? >> the outer features of the compound were studied intensively and there were certain assessments made about where individuals were living and where bin laden and his mily were. and th operated according to that and they didn' know when they got there exactly what some of the internal features of it would be but they had planned on... based on certain, again, observable features of the compound to carry it out. there were a lot of people within the pakistani government and i'm not going to speculate about who or if any of them had foreknowledge of bin laden but certainly his location there outside of the capital raises questions. we are talking to the pakistanis about this.
but they-- at least in our discussions with them-- seem as surprised as we were initially that bin laden was holding out in the that area. >> rose: though bin laden's death is a big victory, how much the will affect al qaeda's diffuse network remains unclear. there's also renewed questions today about pakistani's reliability as an ally in the fight against terrorism. secretary of state hillary clinton spoke earlier and defended u.s. cooperation with pakistan. >> in pakistan we are committed to supporting the people and government as they defend their own democracy from violent extremism. indeed, as the president said bin laden had also declared war on pakistan. he ordered the killing of many innocent pakistani men, women, and children. in recent years, the corporation between our governments, militaries, and law enforcement agencies increased pressure on
al qaeda and the taliban and this progress must continue and we are committed to our partnership. >> rose: we begin our coverage this evening with brian ross, chief investigative correspondent for abc news. i'm pleased to have him back on this program. welcome. >> good evening, charlie. >> rose: tell me what is the most interesting question about this. because you've followed it far while. >> i think the most interesting question is how was he able to hide essentially in plain sight in the middle of a major city that is the headquarters of a garrison for the pakistan military. who in the pakistan government knew he was there? >> rose: and do the americans assume that it is an operative fact that somebody high up in pakistan had to know? >> yes, they do. the comments today by the president's national security advisor john brennan were very pointed, raising the question, he says, which should be raised, about who in pakistan knew this. people we've talked to say they again and again raised those issues with the pakistani officials saying someone in this room knows where bin laden is.
they've always denied he was in pakistan, now the proof is that he was, in fact, there, just about a mile down from their version of a west point, the pakistan military academy. >> rose: what else do you ask yourself 24 hours after we know this? >> well, i'm also interested to know xa what actually is the impact on sdmaeld does this really cripple them is the symbolic loss significant or do they see him as a martyr now and step up their level of attacks? after all, he had not been in day to day charge because he was largely isolated to keep his head down and his number two, his deputy, ayman al-zawahiri, had been running the operation. he still is. he'll be very much the focus of an intense effort to go after him as they did bin laden now. >> rose: in terms of the operation itself, were the operative instructions to try to take him alive? >> the instructions as i understand were kill or capture but they had very little time on the ground.
they knew they had to get in and out because they had not told pakistani military they were coming and they were exposed that way. as i understand it, they were 40 minutes on the ground. when they found bin laden in this rambling house, this huge million-dollar mansion, they told him to surrender, drop his weapons, he did not do that and they killed him. because that was the training. as martha raddatz my colleague reports it was two taps to the head. that's trade craft for two shots to the head for fear that he might be wearing some kind of a suicide bomb vest. >> rose: so once he didn't respond to the drop his weapons, that's when they shot him? >> that's when they shot him. there was no more consideration. >> rose: it was not, then, a cross fire of any kind? >> as far as we know it was not. there was a fire fight, described by the president, and after that fire fight they... the president said they killed him. and we're told that's because he refused to surrender. >> rose: and the burial at sea? first there was islamic ritual
and practice? i'm hold that saudi arabia refused to accept him even though he was born as a saud economy? >> that's the report we had and they did not want to create a place that would be become a shrine for the martyr bin laden and the decision was made even before the assault began the decision had been made that he was killed, he would be buried at sea in a place we don't know specifically but you have a the aircraft carrier "carl vinson." >> rose: and the role of the c.i.a. and leon panetta? >> well, the c.i.a., this was their operation, not the final military attack, but they did the painstaking work, really, a masterful piece of intelligence to track down the couriers. they were bin laden's achilles heel. he could hide, he could stay in this special compound that had walls that were 15, 16 feet high. in fact, charlie, on the terrace where he went outside the walls were seven feet high. now he was 6'4 or 6'6, so he could be outside and not be seen from the road. in any case, the c.i.a. started to track the couriers, they knew
the one thing where he was exposed was his ability to reach the outside world, somebody had to come and get those tapes that he made for broadcast and also letters he sent to others in al qaeda. so those couriers became important. detainees at guantanamo provided them with the information that then led them to this town of abbottabad and that is, in fact, where the compound was. they realized then in following the couriers that this compound was highly unusual and then came to them that he's not in a cave, he's probably right here. it's interesting, charlie, they never once saw him before the assault. there was no absolute visual confirmation that bin laden was there but everything else seemed to fit. the couriers going here, the size of the family seemed to match his. everything seemed to fit and they made the decision to go in and get him. >> rose: that the reason john brennan, the president's counterterrorism expert on the national security staff said that this was a courageous decision by the? >> yes, it was. because the other decision was to drop bomb there is.
had they done that, they might have killed him there might not be evidence or proof that he had been killed. they might have obliterated everything. so the decision was made to put u.s. personnel, this navy seal team, at risk, send them in, they had practiced on a mock-up of the same compound that was built here in the u.s. they knew exactly what they were going to do. >> rose: how extraordinary is this? >> i think it's historic and i think it will be part of historic lore a about the united states and the navy seal teams. this was a successful operation. they pulled it off, they lost one chopper where which they then demolished so nobody could get their hands on it. but no u.s. personnel were injured, no u.s. personnel killed, everyone came home safely on the u.s. side. >> rose: quite a difference from iraq under the... >> iraq and then the attempt to rescue the hostages in iran which was a complete disaster. >> rose: let me come back to al-zawahiri and what might happen to al qaeda. is the assumption that he is
hiding inside pakistan and not north waziristan but in fact in a city like this? >> it's not clear. they have trapped him at times, we're told, to the tribal regions of north waziristan, not major cities but i think that the discovery of bin laden in this city will cause them to reassess all the intelligence about where everyone is. mullah omar, the leader of the taliban in afghanistan, is believed to be in the city of quetta in pakistan. so it may be the best place for these fugitives to hide is in a major urban area. >> the final moments of bin laden we referred to earlier, there is the notion that his wife was either voluntarily or for some other reason tried to shield him and that's when she was killed? >> right. his fourth wife, his youngest wife, who is described to us as kind of a teenaged almost mail order bride who he married some time ago, his wives are dedicated to his cause as well
and one or two other women there were injured, also used as shields. this woman, though, died. >> rose: so what's the next shoe to drop in this? >> i think the questions we've talked about, charlie, particularly the role of pakistan. was the government of pakistan complicit at any level in trying to hide him for the last 13 years, really? certainly since the 9/11 attacks of 2001. the u.s. has been trying to kill him since 1998 when president bill clinton ordered cruise missiles to go after his camp. they missed him then. we've missed him again and again and now that we have him there is solid proof of just where he was. we know as a fact he was in pakistan and all the denials of pakistani officials will mean nothing. >> rose: what options does the united states have if, in fact, they believe the pakistanis obviously knew and perhaps major figures in the pakistani government including the army chief of staff or whoever it
might be and we still have to deal with him. what are the options? >> i think the options are leverage includes the blls of dollar wes give them for aid every year. and it's been suggested to me that the u.s. will say this was low level not high level and prove it and we want you to turn over mullah omar and al-zawahiri and that will set things straight. >> rose: did osama bin laden leave any tapes to be played in the event of his death? >> we've been told this eve new york stock exchange there is a tape in the pipeline. there's another one coming it may have been the last act of one of his couriers. it may have been kind of the convincing evidence but supposedly there is a tape made by bin laden that is in the pipeline due at some point soon. >> rose: brian, thank you so much. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: brian ross from abc news, back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: joining me from washington, retired general michael hayden, director of the c.i.a. from 2006 to 2009 under president bush and i'm very
pleased to have him back on this broadcast. welcome. >> thanks, charlie, thank you very much. >> rose: so take a look at this operation. what impresses you about it? what were the risks? why were there dissending voices at the time the president "pulled the trigger"? >> well, it was a difficult decision. just look, the president believe head had precise intelligence that by giving the go-ahead he was embracing operational risk, this could have iled, physical ri, americans cou have died and finally pitical risk. is could have failed. and so give him full credit for going forward with this decion it also reflectse must have had great confidence in the intelligence he was receiving. >> rose: the critical point... or did... is one of the critical points is did they know that bin laden was there? >> i don't think so. yeah, he had to make a decision based on some ambiguity but, you
know, when you're looking at this target, i think any president would have made the decision to that president obama made. this is worth rolling the dice. >> rose: the courier was essential toll this. the information that was learned at guantanamo played a role. >> the information that was used to kind of build the courier network had some-- and i should emphasize some-- of its roots in the c.i.a. detainee program, not just the program at guantanamo. >> rose: and then it took a significant amount of time go from his nom de guerre to his real name and then a significant amount of time once they had the real name to find him. >> rose: >> oh, no, that's exactly right. this action, i can recall being briefed on this about four years ago. the folks from the counterterrorism center came in and briefed me on a new thread
that they wanted t apply, that theyanted to approach, to investigating. it had to do with couriers and the departure point would b the information that we already had and you're right, charlie, it took about four years to get from that briefing to what happened yesterday. >> rose: how much when you were at the head of the c.i.a. in as much as you know today was through a desire, a serious desire without too much risk on the part of the united states to take him alive? >> i don't know that we ever got close to that circumstance so we didn't have the to make that kindover decision. killing or capturing him was a high... a high challenge for us, though. president bush would talk to me once a week when i went in the briefing room on c.i.a. operations and he would ask me at the beginning of every meeting how are we doing? what do we know? this was always a high priority.
>> re: are you surprised he was where he was? >> i was. we had always thought that he was in the tribal region where the pakistani government was weakest and now we find out he's within an hour or two of islamabad. i was somewhat surprised. >> rose: surrounded by kistani military institutions. >> it sure does surface some questions, doesn't it, charlie? >> rose: well, what question is it for you? >> the question is who knew what and when? i guess the departure point will be how long do we think he was there? then whawas the story on the street? in that town, who was in that compound, who was coming and going? who knew what? who chose to avoid knowing? and perhaps who chose to avoid revealing what it was they did know. these are very serious questions. >> rose: did it ever come to up you while you had... did anybody present you with evidence that
osama bin laden was somewhere anywhere near north waziristan or that he may be in islamabad or some oer pakistani city? >> charlie, we had an awful lot of theories, we tried to examine them all but to be candid most of the quote/unquote lds we had looked a lot more like elvis sightings than they did le hard intelligence. >> rose: so what happens to al qaeda now >> keep in mind al qaeda is not a hierarchy, it's a network sohe impact on it will be a little bit muted. i don't mean to minimize this, this is a big deal, but this is a network, power and decision making isiffuse and som of their franchises are quite powerful. the most immediate thing charlie is they're going go rough a succession crisis. they've never done this, i don't think they've planned fo it. there are fractures inside al qaeda between the gulf arabs and the egyptians. the likely successor is an egyptian, ayman al-zawahiri, so
let's see how this plays out. it could very likely... it could very well not go smoothly. >> rose: it's also sounds like people might be willing to talk more if they're in competition for leadership. >> well, you see those kinds of fractures. you see an organization that ha discipline begin to lose that discipline. i think the folks at the agency and the other parts of the intelligence community are looking for advantage now. if there were a military engagement we'd be in the pursuit phase and trying to take advantage of what's happened so far. >> rose: what was the exact role of the c.i.a. here as far as you know and the exact role of the navy seals and the exact role of the department. >> the as far as i know, charlie, the role of the.i.a. d the intelligence community was the precise almost exquisite intelligence that pinpointed this location and gave us a high probability that bin laden would be there. the role of the seals was to
carry out the operation and we've seen this before. we've seen that nd of cooperation with the death of abu musab al-zarqawi in iraq 2006. so thiis not an unknown process to us. >> rose: should we expect to see more in the future of this kind of involvement in the c.i.a. that leads to this kind of military operation either carried out by navy seals or special ops or whoever it might be? >> i think so. particularly when we're talking about these extremely high-value targets like number one or number two. >> rose: but overall it seems to me that even in afghanistan that we have had reports of... in pakistan of c.i.a. operatives and had reports of c.i.a. operatives being in libya. >> i'm not going to comment on the reports, charlie, but sometimes the c.i.a. is tasked to do things that stretches organic capacity. at which point it makes good
sense to share that burden with other parts of the united states government. >> so what do you think of the selection of general petraeus to run the c.i.a. with the kinds of demands we're making on it today. >> well, we're bringing a lot of experience fro south asia to the agency. this is very important, too, he's going to find a culture there that is very comfortable to him. the people at the c.i.a. had the kind of patriotism, service, integrity that general peteus and, frankly, i became accustomed to seeing inside the armed forces. so that part of a transition should be pretty straightforward >> rose: does this do a lot for the morale of c.i.a. because it brings their own confidence back into play. >> i'm sure it helps. but the people at the agency know what they do. it's a rare thing and today's a rare day when a c.i.a. success is on page one above the fold. what we normally see are c.i.a. failures-- real or alleged-- in
that position in the morning paper. so today's a real good day for the agency and its people. >> rose: general hayden, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: joining me now from washington, david ignatius of the "washington post," steve coll of the "new yorker" magazine and via satellite from istanbul turkey is dexer, filkins, i'm pleased to have them on this program to talk about the extraordinary event. dexter, first to you, then steve then david. the biggest question is how could the pakistanis not have known and if they did know how could they have so believed that the united states wouldn't discover? >> well, this is a much larger question that's been hanging over the war there since 2001 which is which side of the pakistani... whi side are the pakistanis really on? it's part of a very elaborate double game they've been playing for many years which the united states is aware of which is on one hand the pakistani
government very covertly supports the taliban and on the other hand they cooperate with about $3 billion a year that they get in return. when you look at what happened there and where that compound was it really... we may never know the answer but certainly the circumstantial evidence suggests that somebody in the pakistani military intelligence services must have known. you can't build a compound that size in the middle of a military town like abbottabad without somebody knowing about it. >> rose: wouldn'tn't the army chief of staff know, steve? this is an important figure. >> abbottabad is basically pakistani's west point garrison town. it has a large military academy there and it also has a lot of retired military officers who've settled there on land, granted them to their careers and service.
acrding to the information that's been made available, this compound was constructed in fairly recent years. it was conspicuous in comrison to the houses around it, it had unusual security features so it begs all the question that dexter listed. i think of course we have to recognize pakistan government is itself a divided entity so we're talking about the military and the intelligence services that contain officers who, for example, some of them might have had ideological sympathy to bin laden. some might have calculated that his capture or pakistani's corporation in this capture would have caused the united states to cease the financial transfers that the army relied on or otherwise abandon pakistan. i don't suspect that the elected civilian government of president zardari, for example, would have had any reason to know about this. but we're talking about the army and the intelligence service as the decision maker around these kinds of questions. >> rose: how about general kin yanni? >> well, he's the chief of army
staff. and i think you have to say if you look around the rest of pakistan, if you were to do a suey oknown militant leaders living in civilian houses whether lashkar tie be or at we imagine to be the circumstances of mullah omar or the number two of al qaeda, ayman al-zawari. this is what their circumstances have looked like. sometimes it's opened and it's called house arrest, other times it's clandestine. but it amounts to evince... circumstantial evidence of pakistani state control, really. i would put it as directly as that. it certainly raises the question. >> rose: charlie, it's impossle to believe that the pakistanis didn't know out this... world's leading terrorist fugitiveiving in a fairly prominent place. but there are things that are incredible but tha do happen but this may be one of them.
i asked u.s. intelligence officials about this last night. i was told that they have zero evidence that the pakistani government was aware that bin laden was living in this compound in abbottabad. are they telling the truth? the one thing to note is that if the u.s. admitted pakistan had been witting it would almost require us to break with pakistan in a quite sharp and potentially dangerous way. the only other thing i would note? that if the pakistani government, the pakistani intelligence service as an official entity as opposed to individuals who are or have been associated with them, if they'd knownbout this and been providing support in some way that would have surfaced in communicationsnd if there's one thing i know about u.s. intelligence is we surveil the heck out of pakistan. it's hard to have aconversation there that somebody isn't going to pick up. so i wonde if we wouldn't have known about it and knowing about
it if we wouldn't... if thi whole story wouldn't have been different but we're really just guessing. all i can report as a journalist is that i put the question to the u.s. intelligence officials and they saidhey had zero evidence to support the idea that the pakistanis were winning. >> rose: so what does this mean for al qaeda? >> it's a turning point in the history of an organization that's been around since 1988. they've had the same leader and deputy leader in place narrating the organization's cause, speaking to followers, both those that have sworn allegiance to bin laden personally-- which is always the sort of al qaeda oath is not to an organization but to bin laden himself-- as well as speaking to distant followers who will never need an al qaeda operative but might be inspired by bin laden's words. i think bin laden was a distinctive figure in global terrorist history and certainly the global islamist radical movement. he had alobal vision. he had a gentle charismatic manner. he was able to... even though his thinking was often very
muddy and confused, the western analysis, he had an instinct about arab a musli poputions that for a while was sound and then he presided over the most successful rrorist attack in history and this gaye him credibility along with his ability toll elude capture for yearsafterwards so with his passing, a leader passes that i don't think can be replaced in a meaningful way. that doesn't mean al qaeda goes away but it is the end of an era for them. >> does it mean it's more likely they will find al-zawahiri now? >> i mean, he's been, if you think back over the last several years, it's ayman al-zawahiri that... whose voice we've heard the moers and who still makes videos. so he's obviousfully a place where he's felt much more secure where he can do that. where we haven't seen much of bin laden for a while. i guess we'll see. >> rose: the other thing that interests me about this is it
represents something in terms of the success of this military effort, the c.i.a.'s involvement in terms of the intelligence front and how closely panetta from langley was overseeing this i think, david. duds this suggest something about the way they believe they have to go at terrorism? >> well, we've been writing in recent weeks and months about the militarization of u.s. intelligence with general petraeus going to c.i.a. as the new director that end is likely to continue. for many years, the c.i.a. has worked jointly with our special forces there missions that are outside of actual theaters of war whereyou're operating under title 50 of the u.s. code, it's a denyable operation, the c.i.a. will have its own paramilitary officers. but in addition they'll have the people who were from delta force from seal team six whatever, who re operating wit them on the ground. that's been going on in pistan for many years.
there are people within the agency and certainly outside of it who worry that this paramilitary roll for the c.i.a. is taking over. that its roll role as intelligence agency, that is a collector and analyzer of information is taking a backseat to the c.i.a.'s detriment. about i think that's an issue that congressional overseers are going to have to really focus on when general petraeus goes over to c.i.a. i just would say one thing about bin laden's death means for al qaeda. steve coll is the expert. if i was struck last night when the news first broke that what the... hunting down and killing of bin laden shows is that he was wrong in one of his basic assumptions about the united states which was that if you hit america hard as the u.s. was hit in beirut in 1983, as it was hit in somalia in 1993 and '94, the
u.s. will run away and that's not what happened here. we didn't run away. quite the opposite. we got in deeper and deeper,ur pursuit of him and his people was relentless and it finally caught up with him. >> i thought he would have learned that in afghanistan when they chased him in afghanistan en though he slipped away. >> i think there was still this feeling and to be honest it's irly widespread in the arab world that the united states is a sort of soft overfed, overcomfortable suppower that surely as people who watched our special forces and other operators go after them you'd think that would be in the change. but i still hear it. >> rose: steve, have you been in touch with any of bin laden's faly today? >> no, i have not. >> rose: w there any opportunity for anybody to take this body? i'm told they offered it to the saudis where the bin laden family lives. do you know anything about that? >> well, i watched john brennan's briefing today and he
was a little bit evasive on exactly what they had done and what order. but it does seem that they had a sequence perhaps prearranged with the saudis to formally offer saudi arabia the opportunity to take possession of his remains shod they end up in circumstances like this and the saudis had probably already signaled that they would refuse taccept his rains. ter all, he was... that is osama bin laden was stripped of saudi citizenship and expelled from the kingdom. so while a saudi government might have decided out of rsonal courtesy to the bin laden family to permit th repat ration of his remains they had no interest in doing so because they might have risked establishing a shrine in one of the holyitieon the ngdom's territory. probably medina, where the family has buried other brothers of..and half brothers of osama so the kingdom would have had no interest in that but it allowed the united states to put forward a narrative of courtesy and sort
of international normalcy by offering these remains. in truth, osama bin laden was a man without a country. he had no citizenship of anything other than he imagined to be leading in war. >> rose: dexter, will this have any implication with respect to the taliban either in pakistan or in afghanistan? >> i think so and i'm glad you ask that question. i want to... we were talking about the possibility that the pakistani military and intelligence services had been sheltering bin laden or maybe al-zawahiri. there's a pretty substantial amount of evidence that those same people are sheltering a lot of the senior leadership of the taliban in pakistan, including mullah omar. if you remember last year when the deputy commander of the taliban was arrested in karachi, i had some conversations with some i.s.i. people a few months that have and they said he was
living in a safe house with his family. so i think that is... that's going to put a lot of pressure on the pakistanis. >> rose: what pressure can the u.s. bring and what likelihood is there that the pakistanis will say they know the game is up we have to change and we will change? >> the pakistanis have played this hand of cards about 20r 30 times before and they know that the united states will be constrained in putting pressure on them. they have positioned themselves as a country that's too big to fail. they may be correct in their analysis of themselves as too big to fail. but in any event what the pakistanis want is not necessarily e same thing as the united states, that is they may not really want a durable strategic alliance but one thing they need is i.m.f. support. they need credibility in the international financial system and they need access to cash because they're going to continue to face a very bumpy
economic road over the next couple of years. they have a deep alliance with china. that gives them a little bit of cushion. but they're going to look for a middle ground here for something to allow them to kind of bump throughhe obvious questions at are raised the circumstances of bin laden's death and for the united states i think it's similar. the united states is trying to manage a very complicated exit strategy from afghanistan. e la thing it wts now a full blown confrtation with pakist that would disrupt that the united states has made assumpons about pakistan not being cooperativen certainly taliban, slosz in al qaeda. it's not absolutely shocking to consider the psibity that pakistani intelligence might have known about bin laden's location. so i think the u.s., too, has reasons to muddle through, at least for now. got a lot of its plate in affidavits. >> i think it's interesting to
watch the official pakistani reaction today. i was hold that the pakistanis asked last night if president obama could please make his statement quickly and that's why he made the statement just before midnight at this unusual time. the kistanis wanted their population to wake up to an american statement that this operation inside pakistani territory has been to take out osama bin laden not an operation against pakistanis. they thought this was more defensible. and they promised u.s. officials that they would try to mitigate pakistani public criticism in their statements and i thought the statementhat the pakistani government made today, all things considered, was pretty supportive. when i stand back and think about this, i think there's a way in which the removal of bin laden and over time other senior leaders of al qaeda makes things easier for pakistan. it's easier to make the deal that everybody thinks is coming
meeting the u.s. conditions. thu.s. conditions for a settlement in afghanistan are first that the taliban must renounce its allegiance to osama bin laden and al qaeda. well, that's a lot easier now that he's dead. so that's the first condition that's... and en i think the others get a little easier, too. so maybe the pakistanis think that their hand, negotiating, helping broke they are settlement that brings the taliban in under these negotiating conditions may work better and that that's in their interest. i'm just guessing but i lay that out as a possibility. >> rose: dexter, what about the arab streets? so called arab street? do we expect any reaction other than, say, followers of osama bin laden may want to take some kind of action unilaterally or in a group just to... an act of resfleng but the the arab street upset about this or have they long lost interest, if ever, in osama bin laden? >> i think... i mean, personally i think it's for latter. i mean, i was... i was just in
yemen. i just spent about six weeks there where there's in the middle of a a slow motion revolution. i... just my personal sense by talking to people on the street was that osama bin laden was much more popular five years ago eight years ago than he is today. he's just kind of irrelevant today and i think... i mean, when you think about what's happening to al qada in the last three months, it's not just the death of bin laden but all of these arab uprisings that have been happening across the arab world. that's just a devastating... all of this have been devastating to them. so i think they're kind of losing... i think... just personally, this is anecdotal evidence but my own experience is bin laden is not the man that he was. >> rose: steve, what do you think this does for the president and his authority and
his respect among arab leaders and others? >> i think it enhances his credibility across the board. of course, he did campaig for office saying that this is what he intended to do and he was even called out at one point i think during the primary for saying that if he had actionable intelligence about osama bin laden's location in pakistan he would unilaterally strike. sort of absurd to criticize him for that since it was probably standing u.s. policy at the time but in any event he did what he said he was going do. he took the political and military risks of surging troops into afghanistan by offering the american people a rationale that it was necessary in order to mplete the wargainst al qaeda that had been left unfinished by e evious administration in his dgment and now he can turn credibility credit fwli the american people and say "i finish it had job." i think once of the consequences of that is it give him space in managing the afghan policy over the next couple years. he doesn't have to accept military advice and feel pinched
by the politics of military advice in quite the same way. i think that's probably constructive. it may cause those in the white house who would like to speed the exit from afghanistan up to win a few auments that they wouldn't have won earlier. i think overall it enhances the president's credibility at home and abroad and that kind of halo affect usually only lasts a few months in its greatest form but it will be something he'll carry into the campaign, you can be sure about that. >> rose: john brennan called it teed gutsy decision. does this enhance his credibility within the intelligence community, david? >> wel, yes, i think so. he's given the c.i.a. pretty free rein to cduct these hard-nosed operations. he'd radically stepped up the number of predator operations over the tribal areas.
i think he did look last night as he made this announcement like a strong commander-in-chief and every preside needs to have that you are a. a i think it's very much reinforced now for obama. i think he still facs genuinely difficult decisions ahead in afghanistan. i think many in the military... i hear more and more people in the pentagon raing questions about our continued deployment in afghanistan abouthether th strategy really is going to lead us where we want to go so i think those decisions are going to be as tough for the president going forward as they would have been. but in terms of his political ability to lead, to speak the country as president. we all remember the way in which george bush suddenly became more presidential after he brought the country together immediately after september 11 20012001. i think there was a little bit of that last night. we'll see if it lasts and if the president holds on the that presence he had that was so obvious last night.
>> i was just in afghanistan about ten days ago, pakistan as well. i... my sense... i mean, first of all i think there a kind of paradoxical way it may be more difficult now for president obama to make the case to stay in afghanistan. people are going to say hey, look, he's dead, let's bring the boys home. when you're in afghanistan as i just was the senior leadership there in the american military i think down the last person they all believe that this is a multiyear if not a generational effort and they need many, many more years and that may be harder for obama to make that case. you can certainly see the afghans are... as soon as the announcement was made that bin laden was killed the afghans are concerned now. the afghans are concerned that the americans are going to pack up and leave. >> i'm on my way to istanbul to
interview the prime minister. what's the reaction in turkey? >> the same. i mean, i think lots of happy people. >> rose: on, that thank you very much, dexter. steve, thank you. david, thank you. on the next charlie rose, we continue looking at the impact of the death of osama bin laden with dennis blare, former director of national intelligence and pakistan's ambassador the united states. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
tavis: good evening from up los angeles. the death of osama bin laden closes one chapter and america's struggle with al qaeda. it poses a number of questions about our relationship with pakistan on -- to go on going wars, and the unrest sweeping the middle east. later on, analysis from the national security correspondent for "the